By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
BIRMINGHAM — A trial date has been set in the case of a former Gardendale minister charged with killing his wife and trying to kill his daughter.
Jefferson Circuit Judge Tommy Nail scheduled a date of April 14, 2014 for the murder and attempted murder trial of The Rev. Dr. Terry Greer, the former senior pastor of Gardendale-Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church. Nail set the date during a pre-trial hearing Monday morning.
Greer faces murder charges in the death of his wife, Lisa, plus attempted murder of his teenage daughter. The charges stem from an incident at the church parsonage in north Gardendale on Jan. 10. Police at the time said that Greer shot and killed his wife and tried to shoot his daughter; the latter wrestled the gun away from him and ran to a neighbor's house. Rev. Greer then tried to commit suicide by stabbing himself with a knife, police said.
Greer appeared alongside his attorney, Henry Lagman, as several motions by the defense were handled. Greer was handcuffed to a walker, and was dressed in a jail uniform.
Lagman petitioned the court for a psychiatric examination of Greer, to be handled by a private doctor. Lagman said there had been no mental evaluation of his client since he was released from a hospital following the incident. Greer originally had a bond of $150,000 set, but that was later revoked by another judge for fear that he would be a danger to himself and the public.
Nail granted the motion, and allowed the evaluation be held away from the Jefferson County Jail, where Greer has been since his hospital release, with the stipulation that the defense would hire off-duty sheriff's deputies to keep an eye on Greer in going to and from the evaluation, as well as during it. He also granted a motion requested by Deputy District Attorney Laura Poston to have a state-appointed psychiatrist conduct a similar mental evaluation. Nail said that would likely take place at the jail.
Lagman also filed a motion for discovery concerning more than 6,000 pages of emails and text messages between Greer and his wife. "There are emails from Lisa that are exculpatory to Terry's defense," Lagman said in court. Nail granted a limited preserve-and-produce order, but did not require prosecutors to have law enforcement officers certify the messages.
Nail also granted a motion to allow a deposition of a witness whom Lagman did not want to name in open court. The witness is elderly and has suffered a stroke, Lagman said, and lives in an assisted-care facility in Tennessee. Lagman originally asked for a video deposition to be used, but Nail advised against that, saying there would not be a chance to redact testimony that is contrary to court rules. A written transcript will be used instead.